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Cabinet votes against trading company proposal despite concerns of monitoring officer over conduct of meeting

Broadland District Council’s Cabinet has voted down a proposal to form a local authority trading company for waste services despite concerns from its monitoring officer about the conduct of the meeting.

The company had been proposed to be jointly owned by Broadland and neighbouring South Norfolk Council, which share most services.

South Norfolk voted in support of creating the company but Broadland’s cabinet rejected it and will now procure a contractor.

Although the papers relating the business case for creating a company were kept private, an open session of the cabinet was asked to vote in favour of going to procurement.

Judy Leggett, portfolio holder for environmental excellence, referred to“associated risks” mentioned in the private report.

Monitoring officer Emma Hoddle told the meeting: “I do think we need full discussion in private session before we move to a vote.”

This was supported by Jamie Sutterby, director of people and communities, who was standing in for the head of paid service.

He said: “I want to support Emma and express my own discomfort [about this] without having had a full discussion in private session.”

Despite these concerns, council leader Shaun Vincent said the cabinet had to take the decision at once in open session, though did not explain his disagreement with the monitoring officer.

Ms Hoddle then intervened again to say: “It is not often that I will play my statutory officer card but I am very uncomfortable with the way this has been dealt with.

“We have not had the robust discussion we need at cabinet. I would propose we go into private session. If you want to carry on you can but I do need to make clear I am uncomfortable with this.”

Cllr Vincent then pressed the matter to a vote, which was passed though with Lana Hempsall, portfolio holder for planning, abstaining in protest at Ms Hoddle’s concerns not having been addressed.

With Broadland having rejected the trading company South Norfolk is now expected to retain its in-house waste service.